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Now we are in a second, more dangerous, nuclear weapons age

Living dangerously in a second nuclear age
Constitution Daily, 25 DEc 12, 
By Paul Bracken
Many academic conferences and government panels have been convened
this year to recall the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis
of 1962.  This was the most dangerous crisis of the Cold War, and it’s
surely worth studying for this reason.But the Cuban Missile Crisis
gets too much attention. Focusing on any single crisis distorts the
central problem of the Cold War for the United States. The Cold War
was a long-term competition, stretching over five decades……
Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter built their
foreign policies around détente. But in the 1980s this was followed by
the Ronald Reagan build-up, nuclear threats by both sides, accidents
like the shooting down of Korean Airliner 007, and serious nuclear
mishaps inside the Soviet command and control system.

Today we are in a second nuclear age. There are regional competitions
in the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. They are long term, and
now, they too have a nuclear context.
For example, in the Middle East, Iran seems unlikely to voluntarily
give up its atomic program. Israel is restructuring its nuclear
deterrent, putting more of it on submarines so that it cannot be taken
out by any Islamic country with missiles and the bomb.

In South Asia, Pakistan is rapidly building up its stock of nuclear
weapons. It is the fastest-growing nuclear country in the world today.
India has deployed a “triad” like the superpowers did 50  years ago.
New Delhi is placing nuclear weapons aboard bombers, missiles, and
submarines.

In East Asia, North Korea has about a dozen nuclear weapons, a
long-range missile program, and a large stock of chemical weapons.
China is radically overhauling its own nuclear posture, fielding
mobile missiles, stealth aircraft, and anti-satellite weapons. It now
has a much more agile nuclear force.
For example, in the Middle East, Iran seems unlikely to voluntarily
give up its atomic program. Israel is restructuring its nuclear
deterrent, putting more of it on submarines so that it cannot be taken
out by any Islamic country with missiles and the bomb.

In South Asia, Pakistan is rapidly building up its stock of nuclear
weapons. It is the fastest-growing nuclear country in the world today.
India has deployed a “triad” like the superpowers did 50  years ago.
New Delhi is placing nuclear weapons aboard bombers, missiles, and
submarines.

In East Asia, North Korea has about a dozen nuclear weapons, a
long-range missile program, and a large stock of chemical weapons.
China is radically overhauling its own nuclear posture, fielding
mobile missiles, stealth aircraft, and anti-satellite weapons. It now
has a much more agile nuclear force……
The missile crisis is interesting to analyze, but it misses the key
point that in a long-term competition there are likely to be many,
repeated crises. We may need a lot more luck to get through the second
nuclear age than we needed in the first.http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2012/12/living-dangerously-in-a-second-nuclear-age/

December 26, 2012 - Posted by | general

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